Longevity has been the subject of public interest for very long. Everyone wants to live a long and healthy life. While factors like genes and environment are beyond anyone’s control, there are certain lifestyle choices that have a direct impact on the cognitive functioning and lifespan.

However, important to realize is that quality of life has to be addressed just as well. Healthy physical body can be ensured by taking care of what you eat, exercising, adequate sleep time etc. But many people fail to address the cerebral health. Your brain plays an important role in determining how long and well you will live. As we age, so do our brain cells, hence preserving their functionality is of utmost significance as well.

Some of the important factors have thus been enlisted that need to be addressed for better cognitive functioning and yet making it to 100th birthday!

Diet kills two birds with one stone

Ask any top neurologist in Karachi and they’ll also corroborate; you are what you eat! You eat not to sustain your body, but your mind as well. So, while the fried and processed food may taste very good, that’s not conducive to healthy living.

Moreover, other than the obvious detrimental impact of bad dietary choices on the physical health, its repercussions on the brain are often ignored. Not only do certain foods influence mood and memory, but also lead to accelerated cognitive decline as well.

Sugar is one such food. It leads to inflammation, increased insulin resistance and thus impairs memory, leads to poor brain functionality and lowered neuron formation. Similarly, other forms of refined carbohydrates like white bread are also responsible for memory problems.

These foods also cause diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, that lead to decreased life expectancy and poor quality of life.

Fatty foods also pose similar danger to the health. Foods rich in fat are associated with cognitive dysfunction and dementia.

What should you eat then?

Natural foods are always good and safe choice. They are not only important to sustain the physical body, but mind and cognitive health as well. Moreover, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are also good for the brain and are found in fatty fish, nuts, avocados etc. These foods also help to improve the brain functionality and decrease the cognitive decline as well.

According to research, eating fat in moderation and consuming more fish lead to lowered chances of dementia. Moreover, Mediterranean diet which focuses on consumption of natural foods, olive oil and fish, is also great for the brain health.

Be open to challenges

Brain challenges, also known as cognitively stimulating activities, are great for engaging the mind. These challenges help in improving memory and focus and also help in harnessing critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Moreover, evidence also suggests that such intellectual stimulation also helps to keep cognitive decline at bay. According to the research conducted by Dr. Bradford Dickerson, mental challenges aid in the conservation of the brain tissue and ergo brain functionality.

Thus, to enjoy long life and mental health, it’s important to engage the brain. Keep learning new skills, keep throwing challenges at your mind. These not only help preserve cognitive health, but it will make skillful as well!

Take up yoga and meditation!

New evidence has suggested that the more active your brain is, shorter your lifespan will be. This rather perplexing bit of information was recovered when the aging brains and brains of people with Alzheimer’s were observed, as there was hyperactivity in such brains.

While a more detailed and conclusive research is to testify to the preliminary findings, you can perform yoga and meditation in the meanwhile.

Both these activities make you enter the Zen zone, and rather than preoccupying the brain with 6 million bits of information, these exercises encourage focusing on the basic and relaxing mind.

Moreover, the benefits of meditation also include mental clarity, better focus and concentration, improved creative skills etc. Meditation also helps in decreasing cognitive decline. This activity takes anywhere from 5-45 minutes and offers plenty of rewards in return.

Stress and anxiety are to be avoided

Stress and anxiety cause so many physical problems. From greater risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, infertility, sleep difficulty to personal problems, stress wreaks havoc on the overall quality of life. It also leads to mental conditions like depression as well.

Other than the psychological, physical and social problems posed by stress, longevity is gravely and greatly effect as well.

As per research, men who are stressed are 3 times more likely to suffer from premature stress than those who do not suffer from chronic stress. Moreover, stress is also linked with cognitive decline as well; it suppresses memory and greatly impairs the decision-making skills.

Hence, in order to live a long and healthy life, your stress levels need to be checked. Laugh, enjoy life, live amid good people and get therapy if need be!

Timely diagnosis

Despite everything, diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s can strike anyone. However, their impact on life expectancy depends on a number of factors like disease management, type of disorder, time of diagnosis etc.

Hence, if your loved one is showing symptoms of the disease, it is imperative to schedule a visit to the best neurologist in Lahore for their improved life expectancy.